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The Cooking Edge Mwikos & Jikos Carnival Ends

The Cooking Edge Mwikos & Jikos Carnival Ends












Rustic Mint Shack in Peponi was a fitting finale venue for the second edition of Mwikos and Jikos cookout contest. Featuring teams cooking outdoors on charcoal fires, a speciality of Kenyan Asians on big occasions and weekends. The red brick roof tiles and walls of Mint Shack bandas, so reminiscent of the clay kilns (tandoors) used in traditional spicy exotic cooking in the Indian subcontinent. At the final the four teams still standing – vegetarian cuisine cook squads Banks Ka Dhaba and Noor-E-Zayka and the munch meat dish makers V Cook and Sher-E-Punjab, after three earlier cooking sessions at other popular Asian meccas. Now reverberating to Bollywood filmi and bhangra tunes, the spicy aroma in the air, they were cooking their audience’s taste buds to a tumult. So engrossed were they in preparing this ultimate tantalizer, some of the poor chefs lost track of time. The wily judging panel had some tricks up their sleeves. After the first thirty minutes they took the butter away. Then 30 minutes after that the miserable chefs saw their masalas (spices) pilfered. They were left with the salt though! The last half hour ‘mwikos down, stop cooking deadline’ the lead chefs were politely forced to retire. “Sit down, ‘ave a drink mate, yer team will continue without ‘yer…” Their assistants were given the masalas back as a substitute though.   In the meantime the jovial crowd celebrated the goings-on by hitting the dance floor in force until, finally… the countdown. From 2 minutes to 30 seconds, then the 10 – 9 – 8 … to time’s up! Anxious faces on all the kitchen wallas as the judges (Miss Mandy, Deepal Shah aka Chef Dee, Chef Ajendra Singh and this time’s surprise, the boss of title sponsor Noor Cooking Oil, Gaurav Jaggi) came on to each team’s efforts. Each judge sitting in splendor at his/her own table served with an aperitif and a sample of the main meal – two minutes to sample each dish. Rather like the ongoing football World Cup penalty shootout, the tension was excruciating.All eyes on the dining gourmets. Imagine being served by eight waiters simultaneously. One setting a place mat, another placing a plate on it, yet another placing an aperitif within your reach, another tucking a bib under your chin whilst two others serve you an accompaniment and the main meal. Then, all of them around you, anxiously watching the expression on your face. Then followed the final task for the judges – the final verdicts. Together, they had to reach a consensus. Only then did the drooling audience get the go ahead to sample each team’s cooking. After a stampede of sorts, the looks on the faces of the delighted public as they tucked in told the whole story. There certainly was some scrumptious ingredients cooking that afternoon. Mwikos & Jikos Season 2 had come to its climax in succulent style! Each participant was awarded with a Noor goodies hamper bulging with quality cooking merchandise. Finally, the winners were announced, the results so close, if it was a horse race it would have been a photo finish. In the vegetarian cooking category Noor-E-Zayka were runners-up to winners Banks Ka Dhaba by a mere 1.5 points. In the non-veg meat match, it was Sher-E-Punjab who emerged victorious, a razor thin half-point ahead of V Cook. Already the crowd clamoured to beaming co-sponsors Sound Asia and The Asian Weekly for a bigger and better ‘Jikos & Mwikos’ next year. It’s on the cards, folks …

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